Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) on Tuesday excoriated Attorney General Jeff Sessions for “stonewalling” on the Russia investigation after signing off on former FBI Director James Comey’s firing despite having recused himself from any and all matters related to the Russia probe.
Wyden focused part of his questioning on Comey’s testimony last week before the Senate Intelligence Committee, where Comey called Sessions’ “continued engagement in a Russia-related investigation problematic,” but that he could not discuss the sensitive details in a public session.
Sessions argued that he had “basically recused himself” from the investigation.
“Respectfully, you’re not answering the question,” Wyden replied.
“Well, what is the question?” Sessions said.
“The question is: Mr. Comey said there were matters with respect to the recusal there were problematic and he couldn’t talk about them,” Wyden said. “What are they?”
“I—why don’t you tell me?” Sessions fired back. “This is a secret innuendo being leaked about me, and I don’t appreciate it … it’s really, people are suggesting sort of innuendo that I have been not honest about matter and I’ve tried to be honest.”
“My time is short, you made your point that you think Mr. Comey is engaging in innuendo,” Wyden said.
“Some of that leaked out of the committee that [Comey] said in closed sessions,” Session responded.
Wyden also asked Sessions why he had recommended Comey’s firing when it violated his recusal from the Russia investigation.
“It did not violate my recusal,” Sessions argued.
“That answer, in my opinion, does not pass the smell test,” Wyden replied.
Watch the exchange above.